Diversity is a welcome challenge as it is an opportunity to learn and be a better leader at CentraState.
Any Monday through Friday, you'll find Jeffrey Anderson and Hazen Yu in their positions as Administrative Coordinators /Nursing Supervisors for CentraState Healthcare System in New Jersey. Jeffrey works the 3:00-11:00pm shift and Hazen works the 11:00pm - 7:00am shift. Recently, Pat Magrath of DiversityNursing.com had a conversation with these experienced and dedicated Nurses to find out what they had to say about their nursing experiences.
Both men agree that what they love about CentraState is the opportunity for growth in their careers and the support they receive from hospital leadership. They stated that the leadership at the hospital provides excellent strategic planning, is very knowledgeable, and they consistently do the right thing for the employees and the patients. It is because of the leadership, many nurses are loyal to CentraState and have worked there for years. Jeffrey and Hazen are good examples of career growth within the hospital as Jeffrey has 9 years and Hazen has almost 14 years of tenure.
In preparation for our chat, both men did not consider gender as a focus of diversity. They were aware women dominated the field, however they did not look at gender as an area of diversity. When they think of diversity, it is "cultural" diversity that comes to mind. Jeff and Hazen were able to come up with 20 different countries that are represented in CentraState's employee population.
They describe the community they serve as quite diverse. The community includes all the cultures employed by CentraState as well as many others. As a result of the cultural diversity, both Hazen and Jeff have learned about several different cultures and experienced several different languages. Jeff and Hazen agree that diversity is a welcome challenge as it is an opportunity to learn and be a better leader. As Supervisors, they are keenly aware of the importance of understanding a patient's culture. Because their own nurses are so diverse, they often take time with their staff to get a better handle on a particular patient's culture and customs.
To meet the needs of the patient speaking a different language, several resources are available to the staff. One of the resources is the Language Line. This is a service that is used to translate any language via a certified interpreter. CentraState has been proactive and paid for staff members to be certified as language interpreters so they will be on hand to interpret a patient's symptoms and offer medical instructions. While Hazen and Jeff confirm the importance of communicating with a patient in the patient's language, they stress the delivery is just as important. They point out how you handle yourself - your tone of voice, posture, whether there should be eye contact or if it's acceptable to touch a patient -- is just as relevant in the communication process.
When they visited www.DiversityNursing.com, they noticed an article about mentoring. They realized how each of them had been a mentor to the other. When Hazen was in the float pool, Jeff was in the ER. Jeff got to know Hazen and mentored him in the ER. When Hazen became Administrative Coordinator a year or 2 before Jeff, Hazen mentored Jeff in the Administrative Coordinator position. Mentoring for them has been a 360 degree cycle.
Both men also value CentraState's commitment to education. They have attended numerous seminars including a seminar on Leadership. Because Hazen and Jeff love what they do at CentraState, they encourage other men to consider Nursing as a career.
When asked if they felt they were treated differently because they're men, both responded they do the same work as their female colleagues and there is no difference in how they are treated. Both noted that communication with women is different than it is with men and this difference has actually helped them in their personal lives. Jeff and Hazen are confident they got where they are in their careers because of their skills, education and hard work, not because of their gender. They have gained the trust and respect of their colleagues.
Diversity is alive and well at CentraState. Every year nursing staff receive a mandatory diversity packet that covers many areas including cultural competence and communication. They are tested on this information and encouraged to use it in their daily work.